Trout Unlimited’s steelhead initiative focus of March 25 meeting

John McMillan, a Washington representative for Trout Unlimited, will provide an update on the group’s Wild Steelhead Initiative on Wednesday. McMillan will be the featured speaker at the monthly meeting of the Olympia chapter of Trout Unlimited.

The initiative is an effort started late last year by Trout Unlimited to conserve and provide sustainable fisheries for wild steelhead across their native range. At the heart of this effort is the creation of a new conservation organization, Wild Steelheaders United. The goal of this new group will be to bring together steelhead anglers, regardless of their preferred fishing method, to work on protecting and recovering wild steelhead populations.

McMillan’s presentation will look at the goals and efforts of the initiative, and describe the work that is already taking place. He also will talk about some of the major issues that wild steelhead face in Washington and throughout their range, and how sound management and conservation actions can mitigate some of these issues.

McMillan has spent the past 17 years as a research fishery scientist, working from the John Day River in the interior Columbia River to the Hoh River of the Olympic Peninsula rainforest. He has worked for the U.S. Forest Service, the Hoh Indian Tribe, Wild Salmon Center, and most recently for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the Elwha River dam removal project. Much of his professional scientific study has focused on the biology, behavior and ecology of steelhead and rainbow trout.

McMillan and his father, Bill, co-authored “May the Rivers Never Sleep,” their lifelong accounts of fishing Western waters and looking at the connection between anglers and watersheds. The two men also were featured in Shane Anderson’s recent video “Wild Reverence,” a film about wild steelhead’s last stand.

The meeting will be at the North Olympia Fire Station, 5046 Boston Harbor Road NE, Olympia. There will be refreshments and a raffle after the presentation that begins at 7 p.m.